tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 4, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
if you think about the president's tax plan, which would put our deficit in a much greater state -- >> puerto rico won't take responsibility for the debt. there is a lot of other things going on. >> puerto rico has a lot of debts. so do a lot of other places. >> this is "velshi & ruhle" signing off. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. president trump set to arrive in las vegas to meet with victims and first responders after the deadliest mass shooting in modern american history. >> it's a very sad thing. we're going to pay our respects and to see the police who have done a really fantastic job in a very short time. they're learning a lot more, and that will be announced at the appropriate time. it's a very, very sad day for me personally. >> uncovering clues. the fbi gets ready to talk with
the gunman's girlfriend hours after she returns to the united states and after police photos are leaked. we're getting our first look inside that hotel suite that was turned into a sniper's nest. >> the fact that he had the type of weaponry and the amount of weaponry in that room, it was preplanned extensively. >> and nbc news exclusive. here's secretary of state rex tillerson, when given the chance, not denying that exclusive report by nbc that he called the president of the united states a moron. >> i'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that. i mean, this is what i don't understand about washington. again, i'm not from this place, but the places i come from, we don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense. >> and we pick up with that breaking news. hi there. i'm hallie jackson in for andrea mitchell today with that story here in washington. secretary of state rex tillerson
pushing back on that reporting from nbc news that the vice president essentially gave him a pep talk as tillerson was considering perhaps leaving the trump administration. tillerson not answering directly, as you just heard, on whether or not he did call president trump a moron as multiple sources have told msnbc. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker and nbc national political reporter carol lee in new york. carol, let's start with you. you and i have had a busy 90 minutes as the secretary of state came out and pushed back in what was really a remarkable i impromptu news conference. >> yeah, it was. despite everything the secretary said, he actually didn't knock down our story. our story does not say that mike pence, the vice president, tried to convince rex tillerson to stay. it's very clear that mike pence's role in all of this has been to buck up the secretary,
to give him a pep talk, to have conversations with him about how he might be more respectful to the president. and that's according to a white house official, and other sources have said the same. you know, he didn't deny calling the president a moron. he essentially gave a series of different policy issues in which he's saying the president has been successful on, he really backed the president, he supports the president. he also said he doesn't intend to go anywhere, that he's just getting started. it was very much, as our own chuck todd tweeted earlier, it very much seemed like a statement that was serving an audience of one, and that is the president. i think the question all of us has now is what happens to rex tillerson? is this enough for the president? >> and kristen, we know that president trump was paying attention to this because we can read his twitter and he's been talking about this.
in just the last couple minutes here, kristen, we're also getting new reaction from the vice president's office as well. what can you tell us? >> reporter: so first let's do the reaction from president trump, hallie, and then we'll look at the reaction from the president's office. the nbc story has been totally refuted from secretary tillerson and that vp pence, it's fake news, they should issue an apology to america. again, we want to stress at this point, you didn't hear rex tillerson you'lactually knockinn the crux of the show, which was that he was considering resigning. vice president mike pence gave him a pep talk, as carol just said, and also essentially said, look, air any differences you may have with the president in private. now, the vice president spokesperson releasing this statement moments ago, making it
very clear that the vice president wasn't among those who specifically talked him out of resigning, saying, the vice president values the service of the secretary of state rex tillerson and is grateful for his strong affirmation of president trump's america first agenda. as the secretary of state made clear, at no time did he and the secretary ever discuss the prospect of the secretary's resignation from the administration. any report to the contrary is categorically false. so bottom line here, hallie, we're getting a lot of pushback, but again stressing the story states the vice president's role in this was more to counsel secretary tillerson, try to smooth over tensions. but those tensions have been on display. we've reported on them widely, including over the weekend when the president tweeted, criticizing his own secretary of state for how he's handling the crisis in north korea. so the president can call this fake news, but he himself has made it very clear that he's broken with his own secretary of
state on a whole host of policy issues. >> and those policy issues, kristen and carol, is a critical backdrop to all of this. we're talking about the secretary of state, as you have, the crisis in north korea that's been intensifying in the last few months. you got what was happening with the u.s. relationship with iran and questions about what happens with the nuclear deal next, carol. >> right, and those are just two of the issues that secretary tillerson and the president have clashed on. we also know they clashed on how to handle the saudi arabia and the united arab emirates conflict with qatar. you saw the president -- the secretary say one thing and then the president come out and undercut him on that. you may know that secretariy tillerson, around the time he was considering resigning, really pushed the president on signing the nuclear deal.
the president was very hesitant to do that. there is a wide display of public irritants between these two. we spoke to a dozen people for this story, and they all said the same thing. this is a relationship that was tried to reset in july and yet seems to not be able to be reset, that it keeps having these setbacks instead. we just saw most recently over the weekend in north korea where the white house officials can say what they want in terms of pushing back on our reporting, but we all know that they were and really angry that secretary tillerson said what he said about talks with north korea. he didn't clear that with the white house. to go back earlier, this is the type of stuff that vice president pence has been talking to tillerson about not doing, and yet he continues to do it. >> carol, we know the president is landing in las vegas any minute to visit with folks
there. when we look at the backdrop of all of this, kristen, too, with what's happening with rex tillerson, what's happening with t the issue is senator corker. >> he ended up being not supportive in the way i hope a secretary of state would be supportive, and that's just from my vantage point. but i've never -- you know, i have no knowledge of the comments or anything else. i think he's in a very trying situation, trying to solve many of the world's problems a lot of times without the kind of support and help that i would like to see him have. >> senator corker, kristen, very frank there, saying that president trump is not giving his own secretary of state enough support. how does this play out now when it comes to the relationship between members of the
administration and including what comes next for the united states in terms of these policy challenges. >> it's a bit of a drip, drip, drip, hallie. what's significant about senator corker's comments is they outline the fact that, yes, there may be tension pz not the scenes and particularly with the administration and with congress dealing with so many pressing issue issues. this really bubbles up to the surface and isn't going away, hallie. >> kristen and carol, you've both had a very busy morning. thank you for being on with me. i want to turn to senator blumenthal who is with me now. senator, thank you for being with us. you had reporting this morning from nbc news, the secretary's response. can rex tillerson remain a
secretary of state right now? >> what concerns me now, hallie, is less the confidence and trust that the president and secretary of state have in each other than the confidence and trust we should have in the secretary of state's ability to conduct diplomacy. the beginning of talks with north korea were a hopeful sign that maybe diplomacy would replace some of the fury and fire talk and maybe we would avoid miscalculation or another mistake that would draw us into war. can secretary of state tillerson remain? not if the president continues to undercut his pursuing a rational and sensible policy, and these talks were at least the beginning of such a policy. and my hope is that they will not only reconcile with each other but pursue a policy that aims at stopping a nuclear farm
in north korea without the use of military force, which would be devastating. >> you talked about the importance of americans having confidence and trust in a secretary of state snmt. >> at this moment, i think many of us are wondering if he has the credibility of a serious person, which he is, if he's capable of peaceful negotiations with other nations, which he is. i hope to trust him like i do any other official, but it's a question mark. >> it sounds like you don't right now, senator? >> it's a question mark, because of the president undercutting him. that's what's so pernicious about the president's seemingly off-tweet remarks, without any apparent previous thought or analysis. if he lacks confidence in the secretary of state, then demand.
>> what more can the senator do? he's come out in this impromptu news conference. what else does secretary tillerson need to do? >> he needs to fill the ravngs of t -- ranks of the department of state. they're essential to the diplomatic effectiveness of the united states of america. there are no responsible officials for many of the key policymaking and also representative posts in the department of state. and he cannot be effective and he cannot have the trust and confidence of the american people if he is operating alone without that support. >> what about the trust and confidence of world leaders, senator? does the state department have that? >> right now i think that's another big question mark. i haven't traveled recently but i hear from colleagues of mine that have been in the capitals of our allies as well as
adversaries that there is a deficit of confidence in the ability of the department of state and the secretary of state and this whole government to conduct diplomacy. and that's a confidence that is ebbing and it has to be restored vigorously and promptly. >> the secretary in those remarks we heard this morning, senator, seemed very frustrated with leaks, essentially, the dissendi dissension in the ranks. is he right to be fed up with that? >> when the history of this era is written, the heroes will be our free press and our independent judiciary. i say the free press because it's taking advantage of information that ought to be made available to the american public. they ought to know what is happening because leaks have been around as long as there have been administration pz.
nobody likes adverse wars. but the public is entitled to know it sooner rather than have it escalate. i think with all due respect to the secretary, the underlying and i don't want to address them. i was on capitol hill yesterday talking to some of your colleagues on both sides of the aisle about what congress can do, what you need to do. the discussion has centered around something called bump stocks which allows a gun to fire faster, like an automatic. if the president took action, would you support that? >> i would not only support that, senator feinstein and i
announced legislation a moment ago that would ban bump stocks. the firing mechanicism that harness recoil energy and make it possible to convert semi-automatic to automatic. yes, we should ban them, and i think it's a point of common ground where we can come together, in addition to others. >> that was my question. have you spoken to republicans about this? john thune told me yesterday these discussions should take place. >>. the high capacity mag -- magazine on this, there is
receptiveness that i think is very, very significant on the point of bump stocks. >> before i let you go, in the next couple minutes, we expect to hear from a couple more of your colleagues that lead the senate intelligence committee talking about russia's interference in the 2016 elections. you can see a live shot expected to begin any moment. what do you expect to hear -- and i want to focus on these facebook ads. >> these facebook ards, thousans of them, reflect on our democracy. the intelligence committee will shortly have a press conference, but it's only another step. the investigations of the committee where i serve, the judiciary committee, as well as the intelligence committee, and most important, the special counsel have to under. >> it's full ex tenlt.
i've likened it to an attack of war, an act of war. we need to know all of what happened, and the special council slel howill discuss it more. >> i want to go near the room you just saw a live shot of. any minute, kacie, the members of the bipartisan committee coming and giving us a status update of how well things are going. >> hallie, you're right, a rare meeting of the chairman and vice chairman. they described it to us as a status report, but we also know they may take the trump administration to task for not
doing enough to protect the country from future election tampering. of course, the president himself, as recently as july, has been raising questions about whether it was the russians who tampered with the election or were trying to tamper with the election. the sense here from this committee likely to concur with what the intelligence community has for future elections. the results and events of 2016 alive, there is an election for governor coming up. all states are unprepared to deal with this in the future. so we're also going to talk hopefully a little bit about social media platforms efforts to tamper with the election. we're learning more about which
states were targeted bill th this -- by this ads that were targeted. but those states included some major swing states and some states that were critical to the president's victory. wisconsin, michigan, but also florida, ohio, georgia, as well as some states that were not swing states in the election. california, new york, texas, mississippi, alabama. this was spread across. and there is also some suggestion it may have been because of election day, that it was designed to inflame tensions across the board. there were some ads in states where there was incidence of police shooting african-americans, for example. we know that the black lives matter movement seemed to be a part of what seems to be the jat
ji here. google in the spotlight expected to testify in an open session. >> by my count we have roughly 60 second left if that two-minute warning was accurate before we see these leaders of the senate intelligence committee. what happens in 2018? the risk that moscow may medal again, and i imagine these senators may address that. >> i think that's right, hallie. this is a potentially different concern than what we may have experienced in 2016. obviously these investigations are still ongoing. we're waiting for conclusions about what was successful, what worked, what didn't? the more time that goes by, the
more they try of this, the more they potentially learn. and some of them are moving into different ways of counting votes or using different kinds of machines. are those machines vulnerable and what responsibility does the student's raves have so i think there is a lot of about -- how do we make sure is prepared and ready to handle a potential attack from a foreign entity across the country, so there's some states better prapd than other
others. that's what security is doing in preparation for it. >> kacie, i see you checking out with your eyes for a moment we don't often see this. we don't oochb see in it to answer questions about their. >> this is a very rare situation, but i do think it's important in that they're going to carry a board in here that i think you may see, and forgive me if our shot goes a little sideways. this is investigation update. so they say they've had 150-plus people interviewed already, 250 hours of interviews, 4,000 pages of transcripts. now, they also say there are 11, so that may suggest what we're
going to do. there's 80-plus copies of "war and peace." i don't think i've made it through warm and peace west. >> they did say this was going to be a progress report. i think that gives, ah little bit of sense of what the scope is community iing. >> let's listen to this progress report. >> thank you for being here. it's a busy day around the country. mark and i recognize the tragedy of nevada this week, and at this point i'm glad to say that it doesn't seem to have a terrorism nexxus. that's not always the out come, but our hearts and our prayers
go out to all the individuals who were affected, both directly and indirectly. and i can sure you that frl tumd. they're providing as many assets to local law enforcement and to shows people that are tasked with we're here to update you and the american people about the investigation into russiwhe started this investigation on 23 january of this year, we had a very clear foes urs. additionally the investigation was too look into any collusion by either campaign during the 2016 elections. the third piece was an assessment of the ongoing
russian active measures including information and influence campaigns that may still exist and may be ongoing. the investigation started with those three buckets of interest. now we're over 100 interviews later, which translates to 250-plus hours of interviews. almost 4,000 pages of transcripts. almost 100,000 pages of documents reviewed by our staff and some by members. it includes highly classified intelligence reporting. it includes e-mails, campaign documents and technical cyber analysis products. the committee has held that touches election's interference.
i can say the staff have literally worked 16 hours a day since 23 january to get us to the point where we are today. >> six to seven days a week, excuse me. so far in the interview process, we have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice into the creation of the intelligence community assessment. we have spent nine times the amount of time the ica spent putting the document together by the ica. then again, what ended up on the cutting room floor they may not have found relevant to the ica itself but that we found relevant to our investigation. we have reviewed every interview of the obama administration to
see what interest they had in the russia involvement and what drove those actions. i remind you welcome out with a finding at some point and hopefully that will be to recommendations and changes we need to make. so we've tried to think about this as much as we can. >> we have interviewed you. there's some that snuck through because you don't know who they are. now, it's safe to say that the inquiry has expanded slightly. initial interviews and document review generated hundreds of additional requests on our part for information. it identified many leads that expanded our initial inquiry.
the work done by our staff spurred the committee to look at some areas of our investigation that we hope will very soon reach some definite conclusion, but we're not there yet. we're not ready to close them. one of those areas is the ica itself. given that we have interviewed everybody who had a hand in the ica, i think there is general consensus among members and staff that we trust the conclusions of the ica. but we don't close our consideration of it in the unlikely ho unlikelihood that we find additional information in the conclusion of our investigation. the obama administration's influence in the election. they have volunteered to share
anything they knew and in some cases were interviewed for over two hours. the meeting at the mayflower. these are not issues that are closed, we have not come to any final conclusions. we have interviewed seven individuals that attended the mayflower event. the testimony from all seven were consistent with each other, but we understand that with the current investigation open, there may be additional information we find that pulling that thread may give us some additional insight that we don't see today. changes to the platform committee. again, i'm addressing some things that have been written by you in this room, and they may not have been on our chart but we felt that we had to dig deeply into them. we have -- the committee staff has interviewed every person involved in the drafting of the campaign platform. the campaign staff was attempting to implement what they believed to be guidance to be a strong ally on ukraine but also leave the door open for
better relations with russia. i'm giving you the feedback we got from the individuals who were in the room making the decisions. again, not closed. open for the continuation. the last one i want to cover is the comey memos. this topic has been hotly debated and the committee is satisfied that our looking into this issue has reached a tragic end of the russia investigation. again, this is not something that we've closed, but we have exhausted every person that we can talk to to get information that's pertinent to us relative to the russia investigation. questions that you might have surrounding comey's firing are better answered by the general counsel or by the justice department, not the select committee of intelligence in the
united states senate. there are concerns that we continue to pursue. collusion. the committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. now, i'm not going to even discuss initial findings because we haven't any. we've got a tremendous amount of documents still to go through, and just to put in perspective, i said we've done over a hundred interviews over 250 hours. we currently have booked for the balance of this month 25 additional interviews. that may not end up being the total, but as of today, there are 25 individuals booked to meet with our staff before the end of this month alone pertaining to the russian investigation. we have more work to do as it relates to collusion, but we're developing a clear picture of what happened. what i will confirm is that the
russian intelligence service is determined, clever, and i recommend that every campaign and every election official take this very seriously as we move into this november's election and as we move into preparation for the 2018 election. i'm going to ask the vice chairman to cover the other areas we're in the process of pursuing. >> thank you, richard. i want to say at the outset again, i'm very proud of this committee, i'm proud of the way the committee has acted, i'm proud of our staff and the enormous amount of work they've done. i know the chairman and i see many of you daily in the hallways and know that this feels like it's taking a long time. it is taking a long time. but getting it right and getting all the facts is what we owe the american people. as we've seen, for example,
stories that emerged in the late summer around mr. trump jr.'s meeting or the possibilities of a trump tower moscow. the chairman and i would love to find ways to close things down but we also still see strains and threads that we need to continue to pursue. i want to touch on two subjects. the first is echoing what richard has already said. the russian active measures efforts did not end on election day 2016. they were not only geared at the united states of america. we have seen russian active measures take place in france, we've seen concerns raised in the netherlands, we've seen concerns raised in germany, and
we need to be on guard. one of the things that is particularly troubling to both of us is the fact that it's become evident that 21 states ostates' electoral systems were not all penetrated, but there was at least trying to open the door in these 21 states. it has been very disappointing to me, and i believe the chairman as well, that it took 11 months for the department of homeland security to reveal those 21 states and still don't know why exactly last friday was the date they chose to reveal that information, but still believe there needs to be a more aggressive whole of government approach in terms of protecting our electoral system. remember, to make a change even
in the next election, doesn't require penetration into 50 states, arguably. the states like the chairman's and mine could be key. you can pick states in two or three jurisdictions and alter an election. i believe in a state like mine where, in virginia, in new jersey, in 34 days we have elections. i'm glad to see the dhs have said they are going to up their game and particularly help the states in the elections that are happening this year. but we need to make sure that there is an agenda. i think the states decertified one set of machines that were tough screens that didn't have a paper ballot or a paper trail to this. one of the things we wanted to
emphasize with this briefing, that this is an ongoing concern, and that if states don't proactively move forward, very shortly we'll be getting into primary seasons early on in 2018. and this is an ongoing challenge. again, i would point out even after last week, wisconsin, texas and california still have some lack of clarity about whether the appropriate individuals were notified. i also want to raise an issue that the chairman and i have been working jointly on as well, and that is the russians' use of social media platforms. social media platforms that increasingly the vast majority of us turn to for information, for news in a way that is very different. if you look, for example, in the
realm of political advertising, we've seen over 700% increase in the use of digital political advertising between 2012 and 2016. the speculation is that will change because of the ability to target voters. i was concerned at first that some of these social media platform investigators did not take this threat seriously enough. i believe they are recognizing that threat now. they've provided us with information. we think it's important that the three companies that we've invited, google, twitter and facebook, will appear in a public hearing so that americans can again hear both about how we're going to protect, i would argue, three areas. one, making sure that if you see
an ad that appears on a social media site that americans can know whether the source of that ad was generated by foreign entities. two, to make sure that if you see a story that is trending and becoming more popular, whether that trending is because a series of americans are liking that story or liking that particular page, whether it's generated by real individuals or whether that's generated by bots or in some cases it may be falsely identified accounts, for example, facebook has indicated between 30 and 50,000 such accounts were taken down in france because -- due to russian interference. and third, just the notion that both of us have been in politics a long time. if you have somebody wanting an ad for you or against you, you've got to be able to go down
and take at least a look at that content the same way that if ads or run for or against you on tv, radio or newsprint, you can at least get a look at that content. this is an ongoing process, but we're seeing increasing levels of cooperation. and with that i'll turn it back over to the chairman and be happy to take questions. >> many of you have asked us are we going to release the facebook ads. we don't release documents provided to our committee, period. let me say it again. the senate intelligence committee does not release documents provided by witnesses, companies, whoever -- whatever the classification, it's not a practice that we're going to get into. clearly, if any of the social media platforms would like to do that, we're fine with them doing it because we've already got scheduled an open hearing because we believe the american people deserve to hear. just to remind people on october 25th, we will have another
hearing on november 12. we have invited the social media companies that mike mentioned to be our guest at an open hearing, and we feel confident they will take us up on it. as it relates to the steel dossier. unfortunately, the committee has hit a wall. we have, on several occasions made attempts to contact mr. steele, to meet with mr. steele, to include personally the vice chairman and myself as two individuals making that connection. those offers have gone unaccepted. the committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding
things like who paid for it? who were your sources and subsources? we're investigating a very expansive russian network of interference in u.s. elections. and though we have been incredibly enlightened at our ability to rebuild backwards the steele dossier up to a certain date, getting past that point has been somewhat impossible. and i say this because i don't think we're going to find any intelligence products that unlock that key to pre-june of '16. my hope is that mr. steele will make a decision to meet with either mark and i or the committee or both so that we can hear his side of it versus for us to depict his findings of what his intent or what his actions were. i say that to you but i also say it to chris steele.
potential witnesses that we might ask to come in in the future. i strongly suggest that you come in and speak with us. if we believe that you have something valuable to bring to the committee, if you don't voluntarily do it, i will assure you today, you will be compelled to do it. i can compel you to come, i can't compel you to talk. but that will be in a very -- done in a very public way if, in fact, you turn down the private offer. the committee has proven to be balanced, professional in that we're willing to listen to everybody. let me say in closing, for those following our investigation in the press, i want you to know that you only see glimpses of the amount of work the committee has done. we're doing much of our work behind closed doors to ensure the privacy and the protection of witnesses and sensitive sources and methods.
it's become increasingly clear that the committee has stayed focused on building the foundation to be able to finish our investigation thoroughly and in an accountable way. i'm confident today that when we started -- we chose wisely by choosing our professional staff to do this investigation, and not to the talking heads all around the country that suggested we couldn't do this unless we went out and hired a whole new group. i think the numbers here reflect that. ultimately we look forward to completing our work and presenting our findings to the public. i can't set a date as to when that can be. we will share about you after we've exhausted every thread of
intelligen intelligence. i don't by any stretch of the imagination that there's value to everyone we met with. but if we hadn't met with them, you would have asked why we didn't. the truth is, none of us in this room may know everybody we met with. we're not going to share who we interview. we're not going to share what we ask, and we're certainly not going to share what they tell us. we're not going to share with you the documents that we got, but when you, a large group coming from the. let mel assure you, we're going to get the best view of what happened that anybody could possibly get. at the end of this process, we
will be surely that we present to the american people our findings as best we have been able to accumulate. so with that, i would be happy to open it up to questions. chad? >> have you seen the evidence of a nexxus between these russian facebook ads with the trump campaign or with any political cam campaign? >> chad, we haven't even had our hearing with any of the social immediate kwa pl media platforms. i think if you look from 10,000 feet, the subject matter seems to be to create chaos with every group in america, aside from a involvement. let us take the opportunity to have these folks in. >> i would defer answering your
question. >> i believe, and i think you will see, that there will be more forensics done by these companies. again, when we just look at scale, france versus the united states, for example, on one of the platforms, facebook in terms of what happened, i think they've got some more work to do and i'm pleased to say i think they're out doing that work now. >> senator? the president has said he doesn't believe that any talk of collusion is a hoax. you have gone through all these documents, you've interviewed all of these people. at this point is the president right. >> i'm going to have you guys ask the president. i thought i was pretty clear that the issue of collusion is
still open, that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses and that we're not in a position where welco will e to any type of temporary finding on that until we've completed the process. kacie? >> you said the issue of collusion is still open. are you pursuing the question of whether there is a link between the ads that appeared on social media sites and the trump campaign? >> well, let me just say that -- i'll let mark address it if he'd like to. if there was any connection that would be pertinent to our investigation of russia's influence in the elections. we have had incredible access and cooperation by those social media conditions that have been in. some of them have been interviewed twice. at the end of the day, we'll be
prepared to ask the right questions that may answer some of your questions at that open hearing. >> we also have to get the universe first. i was concerned on the front end that the first pass was not a thorough enough pass. for example, i cited the fact that one entity, the only ads that were produced were those paid for in rubles. obviously there are various storms. i think they're totally understanding that their actions need to match their public statements and they realize how important it is to maintain the integrity of our democratic process. >> i think at the end of the day, it's important that the public sees these ads. >> two questions. you talked about the level of cooperation that you've gotten from obama administration
officials. can you describe the level of candor and cooperation you've seen from trump campaign officials. >> i can't think of a trump campaign official that we've asked to come in that has not come in. is that pretty accurate? there are some individuals who may have been involved in the trump campaign that to this point we may have gotten their credentials, but in the sense of them coming back, we knew a little more when we pulled up a few intelligence threads. >> ufr been watchiyou have been leaders of the bipartisan senate committee answer questions from reporters as they give a progress report on the inquiry into russia's interference in the 2016 election. some takeaways here, russia may interfere again. you heard the discussion about the warning that their interference did not end on election day.
you heard these two senators say that the intelligence community's assessment. although they did not get into president trump's response assessment. you will remember that the president has repeatedly said that while he believes russia interfered, other countries may have as well. as president trump now gets off air force one. i'll turn it over to my colleague chris jansing in las vegas where the president has just landed to pick up the rest of our coverage on msnbc as we watch the first lady and the president come down the stairs of the plane. chris? >> thank you very much. president trump taking on the role of consoler in chief in a city so deeply shaken after what happened here on sunday night. 59 families now prepared to bury their loved ones. hundreds still remain hospitalized. some of them life-threatening injuries. the president being met by governor sandoval, by las vegas
mayor carolyn goodman, by sheriff lombardo, as he is a key figure in this investigation. before leaving the president called this a very, very sad day for me personally, but he arrives here, first of all, being able to see mandalay bay. as he came in and as he deplanes, able to see the hotel where the gunman so indiscriminately mowed down hundreds of people with his bullets. he does it against the backdrop of an extraordinary number of events. first of all, you were just watching these reports on the russia probe from the intel committee. you had just hours ago his secretary of state, rex tillerson, holding a news conference saying he disputes nbc news reporting he ever considered quitting, but not disputing that in a meeting with other administration officials he called president trump a moron and, in fact, on board air
force one on the way here today, sarah sanders said that rex tillerson continues to have the confidence of the president. if he didn't, tillerson would no longer be on the job. he also comes here amid criticism of his trip yesterday to puerto rico, about the things he said and the things he did, including tossing paper towels into a crowd. people questioning whether or not he has the tools, the empathetic tools to handle what is, by any measure, a horrific situation for this city and, obviously, for the people who have suffered here. the person who you are seeing, sheriff lamb bar douombardo sai marilou danley, the girlfriend of the shooter, is at the fbi field office about to be requested questions. i'm here with stephanie gosk and
pete williams. as we watch the president, who is meeting with local officials, pete, what are the key questions for her as the fbi has finally a chance to look at her face-to-face and ask her some questions? >> two main questions. did she know what he was up to? did she have any inkling he was planning something like this? did she have concerns that he was becoming more and more enraged about something? did she play any role in it? and secondly, if she didn't know about this, was she concerned about his mental stability? were there any signs that he was turning to this? now, we've been told that he was -- stephen paddock was taking prescription -- in essence, mood stabilizers, valium. but the experts we've talked to about that say that -- while it can reduce a person's impulse
control, perhaps make somebody more susceptible to road rage, it's not the kind of thing that would cause a sustained anger like what obviously was going on in stephen paddock because he thoroughly planned what he did. acquiring all these weapons, taking all these steps to monitor the hallway outside the hotel with the cameras, loading everything into suitcases, waiting for several days before it happened. perhaps, even doing dry runs by looking at other tall buildings that overlooked outdoor music festivals. so, those are the main questions for her. the questioning will start later this morning. she came in overnight on a flight from the philippines. her sisters have said they think the reason she was in the philippines is gave her an airplane ticket and wanted to get her out of the country so she'd be out of the way so that he could do what he did. but that's what they want to know. those are the main questions for her. we learned a little more about his acquisition of guns.
he had nearly 50 weapons. started buying them in the mid-'80s, but accelerated his gun purchases just within the past year. from last year at this time to this year, he bought something like 70% of his rifles, 33% of his firearms. so -- 33 firearms, 30% of them. he accelerated his gun purchases. why did she think he was acquiring all these guns? a lot of questions for her. we just don't know yet how many answers that she'll have, chris. >> and the president pulling away to head to an undisclosed hospital. he's going to be meeting with survivors. he's going to be meeting with first responders, with civilian heroes. he'll also be meeting with victims' families, something traditionally kept very private, those considerations between a president of the united states and those who have suffered the ultimate loss. but in the meantime, stephanie gosk, you've been looking into marilou danley.
what do we know about her? >> although there's a lot of mystery about what she knew about this shootsing and what she may have seen, as pete laid out, we're beginning to learn a bit about her life. we know she was born in the philippines. she's an australian citizen. a family member there said she left 20 years ago, came to the u.s. we know she got married in 1990. we know this from divorce records from that marriage. she filed those divorce records in reno, nevada. she listed as her residence at the time in 2015 a residence that we know was owned by stephen paddock. we've talked to a number of neighbors who lived near them in that neighborhood. one woman telling us she actually rarely saw them together. that there was some sympathy that she had for her because she knew and the neighbors knew that he was a gambler, he wasn't around much. she often tried to reach out to her and talk to her. another neighbor said that she liked to work out. she was -- went to a zumba class with a friend of hers and she was friendly and quiet.
we know that they met at a casino where she worked. and that paddock's brother said that he was quite a high roller there. she worked as a hostess. and that that is where they fell in love. even though neighbors said she described their relationship as something far more casual. but there's a little bit of a disagreement on that. so, we do know -- we know more about her. >> maybe the person who knows more than anyone else about what he was thinking, what he was doing over the course of not just the last couple of weeks but the last couple of years, potentially, doesn't seem to be close to a lot of other people. the other thing donald trump said before he left today was, we're learning a lot more, referring to the investigation, that will be announced at the appropriate time. what is going on right now that's key in this investigation that may lead them to more information? >> building the timeline of what
he was up to. looking for various steps along the way that indicate that he was planning this for a long time. that he had considered other options. and they've given hints they are looking into that. they're right now exploiting his electronic communications, trying figure out if he left behind any signs. but the deputy director of the fbi said this morning at a cnbc conference that so far they just don't know what the motive is. there haven't been any of the usual indicators that are left in the thumb or fingerprints, he called them, that are left behind in these shooting situations. we did learn a very interesting fact last night about how he was able to achieve such lethal force. and that is that the way he got these firearms that he purchased legally to act like automatic weapons was to put something on the back of them called a bump stock, which basically takes the recoil action of the rifle and
uses it to pull the trigger much faster. can you get a rate of fire that's 10 to 12 times faster than the normal process of simply pulling the trigger. these bump stocks have been on the market for years. just today senator dianne feinstein introduced a bill to ban the manufacture or possession of bump stocks. she said in a news conference a short time ago that her own daughter had planned to attend this concert in las vegas. at the last minute decided they couldn't go. that's how close it came to me, senator feinstein said. and we've noted that some of the online merchants, walmart, cabella's, some of the other places where you can buy firearm accessories, are either not selling these now or have taken them off the website, or say if you try to buy one on the website, that they're not available. that's an interesting response from some of the retailers. >> pete williams, thank you very
much for an update on the day that the president has now arrived for several hours on the ground here in las vegas. i'm chris jansing in "andrea mitchell reports." craig melvin takes over our coverage from las vegas. >> good day to you. craig melvin here from las vegas. president trump, again, just landed here just a few moments ago. the president leaving behind several big controversies that threaten to disrupt the image that the white house would very much like to project right now. that of consoler in chief. there it is, air force one on the tarmac, roughly 15 minutes away from where we stand here just off the strip. the big story, of course, right now in addition to the president's trip here to vegas, did the secretary of state, rex tillerson, call president trump a moron? and did he threaten to resign? sources telling nbc news, which first reported this story, that, yes, he did.